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Showing posts from July, 2013

who we are and not what we do

Summer for this rising senior means college apps (and, okay, lots of fun besides), and college apps mean actually figuring out where I'm applying and where I might want to go once I (hopefully) get in someplace. And so I hit up several people on Facebook--friends currently studying at places I'm interested in, like UC Berkeley, UMich, and Williams--to get firsthand advice.

Berkeley!
With the most immaculately written "rant" I've ever known: "What makes Berkeley stand out a lot is definitely our activism--it's not exactly the 60s anymore, but there is definitely a sense that you can believe in anything here. There are plenty of hippies, a zillion Christian fellowship groups, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine activists, College Democrats and College Republicans, etc. You can join a sorority or you can join a co-op. You can be a part of a professional pre-med fraternity or an intramural soccer team or Colleges Against Cancer or you can teach a student-run class …

"it's my fast food name, don't ask"

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Grabbing Starbucks drinks with my friend Atticus yesterday, I distinctly remember what he said when the beaming cashier asked, "Can I have a name?"

"Alex," Atticus said, muttering to me, "it's my fast food name, don't ask."

"Your fast food name?" I snorted derisively, and stammered out "Uhhh, could I get an orange mango smoothie?" to the cashier. She asked for a name. "Adora," I said, enunciating (I thought) very clearly.

Her eyebrows furrowed in bemusement.

"Andora?" she asked, Sharpie tip wavering over the plastic cup.

"No, Adora--never mind," I said, and waved. She wrote down Andora. I winced. A little part of me died. That extraordinarily microscopic little part of me that is captured by the nonexistence of an "n" between A and D, the "ttic" and nonexistence of a "lex" part Atticus must kill off every time he orders fast food, the "anna" that performs a …

"you smell like a stinky old man" and other things my sister says to me

Isn't having a sibling amazing? A few more choice quotes:

"Dance party? Or else I'll bite your cheek."

"Feeling your face is so enjoyable!"

"Let's talk!" (cheery voice)

"Do you love me?"

"You don't love me."

I got a 520 on math on the SAT!

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This is the kind of confession which is so good to get out you just have to say it in one breath--IGOTFIVETWENTYONMATHONTHESAT. And just like that, a weight is lifted. Okay, 520 isn't terrible. (I have friends who would read this and shake their heads right now saying, "Yes, Adora, yes it is." I have friends who have done that, in so many winces or raised eyebrows or sympathetic displays of lip-biting if not in words.) Well, it could've been worse! 400. Or 300. 520 is, anyway, 20 points lower than what I got the first time I took the test, and many hundreds lower than what the majority of my friends got their first time. For the record, I also took Algebra II as a junior and haven't done an AP science! The latter revelation prompted a family friend to sigh sympathetically, "Ohhh honey." I got F's on some French tests and a B overall that year.

In three years of high school, I have never gotten all A's.

As the modern-day prophet Billy Mays said…

the addictions we tolerate

"I shoot up heroin, snort lines of coke, have a gambling problem, chain-smoke, and drink."

"I watch Game of Thrones, Homeland, Newsroom, Big Bang Theory, and Dr. Who constantly, and LOVE rocks. No, seriously, I really like buying rocks."

Ideally you haven't heard either of these quotes too often, but which would you say has the more urgent problem? Undoubtedly the first person. They're addicted. With that said, isn't the second person too? "Addiction" is a word with a lot of connotations, most dramatically connotations like the first quote, and yet it's manifested in everything from "just one more episode" to "I swear this is the last time I'll buy ___." I question what separates the addictions we tolerate and the ones we don't.

If you think about things like illegal drugs, they're obviously far more damaging to health and safety than, say, a TV show, but we also think of them as primarily addicting substa…

the ethics of serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·tyThe occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: "a fortunate stroke of serendipity".


I've been thinking a lot about serendipitous occasions because of the role of luck in so much of my life. Relationships especially--as an example, I've met crushes because of incidents as inexplicable and random as walking faster than everyone else, being at the same event or camp or class, or asking for a ride. Okay, that may not be as crazy as seeing someone's face fleetingly through a subway window, but I still think of it as serendipity.

I suppose that everything beneficial is serendipitous, in a way, then, with a definition as broad as "development of events by chance." You don't have to be hardcore deterministic to realize that a lot of life is up to luck. All those news stories where the anchorman or woman begins with "S/he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time..." All this is in hindsight--someth…

crazy taxi remembrance

It's strange, how the images that evoke "childhood" for us aren't always the quintessential ones--stuffed animals, baby shoes, Legos. For me, the arcade game Crazy Taxi always makes me think of being little, of trips to the local "Asian store" (the Ranch 99 Market in Kent, a veritable mecca for Chinese people and a few bemused Westerners who had wandered there looking for exotic fruits, or, like my dad, went out of obligation).

Ranch 99 Market is located inside the Great Wall Shopping Mall. Fittingly for its name, it seemed palatial to me at four or five years old. Sometimes my sister Adrianna and I went inside Ranch 99 itself, with our mom, but most of the time my dad would take us around the mall to kill time window shopping. We pointed at teapots in fancily decorated tea shops, sniffed the air in the hopes of picking up the scent of the chestnuts roasting outside, gazed through gleaming glass cases at deep purple amethyst geodes with price tags that ke…

Cross my heart and hope to die

In my neverending capacity for masochism, I've decided to not only do precalc over the summer, show up for preseason cross country runs, and get through all the Game of Thrones books (currently on Storm of Swords!), but also write one poem, one short story, and one blog post every day. Cross my heart and hope to die...

Which brings me to my inaugural post. Where does that saying, "cross my heart and hope to die," come from anyway? A Google search on the term brings up mostly inconclusive answers from not especially trustworthy sources (my AP Lang teacher would not be proud of me relying on Ask.com and Yahoo Answers), but they'll have to do.

Yahoo Answers user Lorreign said this, "Probably the gesture and its binding nature were originally based upon the familiar Catholic sign of the cross. In my own Protestant childhood in Ohio, and my wife says the same was the case in Massachusetts, the oath was often accompanied by the irreverent doggerel: 'Cross your h…

"teach your girl" - a new poem

teach your girl
Teach your girl to jump fences and her world will know no boundaries, teach her to sneak out in the dead of the night with no fear of the bogeymen who have never tried to hurt her, but give her the strength to kick them as hard as she can in the groin on the off chance that they do. Teach her to run until her legs can’t carry her anymore, and when that happens, to walk a little further. Teach her to walk like she owns the ground when she steps on it instead of apologizing for the air she breathes—
teach her to dance on fallen trees that make bridges in the woods as if her hiking boots were ballet shoes, because bird calls and wind-whispers make music too. Teach her that no matter what anyone says falling off cliffs isn’t the worst thing in the world, not climbing in the first place is. And if she can’t reach the final foothold lift her up on your shoulders the way you do on the Fourth of July, and teach her that shortness need never be weakness when you can stand on th…